Production code
November 18 2001
Written by
Jesse Alexander
Story by
Teleplay by
Directed by
Daniel Attias

Reckoning is the sixth episode of Season 1 of Alias. Sydney goes undercover in a mental institution to get information from Shepard, a man who has been unconsciously programmed to be a deadly assassin. Meanwhile, Sydney becomes convinced that her father was responsible for the death of her mother 20 years earlier. Will discovers the true identity of the woman who claimed to have an affair with Danny and Francie is relieved to learn that Charlie is not having an affair with another woman. Marshall finds the computer worm planted in the SD-6 mainframe by the CIA.

Plot Overview[]

Sydney remains shattered after watching four CIA agents die in a plant explosion – triggered by Dixon as part of their SD-6 mission. She continues to struggle with a truth about SD-6 she cannot share with her fellow agent, while Vaughn convinces her that Dixon's life and family would be at peril if she ever crossed that line.

Upon returning, Sydney learns that Jack will now be working alongside her at SD-6. But after looking into her father's CIA file – given to her by Vaughn – she visits the widow of FBI Agent Calder and begins to form an opinion that Jack's suspicious activities led to the death of her mother 20 years earlier – creating an even deeper tension between them.

The CIA continues to download SD-6's database though a worm previously implanted into their network via an invisible software control – unfortunately, Flinkman reports the leak to Sloane who immediately suspects a mole from within. Meanwhile, Charlie finally tells Francie his secret. He is not cheating on her, but has been pursuing his dream to become a professional singer. Francie has never even heard Charlie hum – she fears his humiliation, if it turns out he's on the wrong path. But he invites her to his debut at a local club, and her fears are assuaged when she hears his beautiful voice.

Will also uncovers the true identity of the woman who formerly claimed to be Kate Jones and to have had an affair with Danny. But when he surprises her at her door, she pepper-sprays him, terrified, sending him away. Later, she calls to explain she was paid to impersonate Kate – but when Will tries to meet her again for more details, he finds her apartment now emptied.

Sydney and Dixon's current mission to recover one of FTL's genetically secured encoder devices – a highly sophisticated piece of cryptology equipment – from an operative named Smythe, who also owns a photo gallery in London.

Dixon impersonates a wealthy buyer, distracting Smythe long enough for Sydney to break into the owner's highly secure offices, while eluding a menacing guard, and to recover the device.

With the encoder in SD-6's possession, Marshall discovers it works by single-user DNA, sampled via a speck of skin from the recipient's fingertip. SD-6 needs the fingertip of Gareth Parkashoff, now deceased, and whose burial location is unknown except to his assassin.

In the guise of a patient, Sydney must infiltrate the asylum in Bucharest where his killer, Martin Shepard has been recently committed.

With the aid of SD-6 Agent Fisher, posing as the physician committing her, Sydney's mission is to trigger Shepard for the body's coordinates by reciting a poem by John Donne, a known key from this assassin's programming.

Sydney is admitted upon their arrival in Romania, but her discharge will prove to much more complex, for only too late does the CIA discover that this institute is also run by Dr. Kreshnik, a K-Directorate agent.

And when Sydney finds Agent Fisher with his throat slashed, the gates to this institution appear to be sealed for good.



Guest Starring[]





  • Goof: When the mental institution guards taze the guy strangling Sydney, she should have been electrocuted too as he was holding on to her.
  • Goof: When Sydney and Vaughn are discussing her counter-mission at the driving range, she is hitting left-handed, and he is hitting right-handed. In actuality, Vaughn is left-handed, and Sydney is right-handed.
  • Goof: When Sydney jumps down from the hot pipes at the art gallery, the keys are in the lock. When she lands the keys are gone.
  • Goof: When Sydney is looking through the floral box to locate the newspaper article of her mother's death, there is a drawing of genitalia on a piece of paper in the box. 
  • Number 47: The motion sensor's activation code is 2472.
  • Number 47: When talking about FTL, Jack mentions the T-47s that were moved.
  • When Sydney is admitted at the mental institution in Romania, the facility’s Director (Dr. Kreshnik) is the same man, that was in the picture Caulder’s (the FBI agent that was hunting Sydney’s mother) widow showed to Sydney, telling her, he was her new boyfriend. How did Sydney fail to see something wrong right away?
  • This episode was nominated for the 2002 Excellence in Production Design Award for "Television - Episode of a Single-Camera Series".
  • The song playing during the funeral part has the same melody as the choir sung version of the Finlandia-hymn composed by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. This hymn is one of the most important songs embodying the spirit of independent Finland, and rivals the country's national anthem in importance.
  • This is the first episode to include the "mugshots" of the main characters, before the opening sequence.

Aliases Used[]


  • "Going, Going, Gone" by Stars
  • "Tornado" by Garbage
  • "Be Still My Soul..." by Lisbeth Scott
  • "Zero Hours a Week" by Huffamoose

Allusions and References[]

  • During Sidney's briefing Sloane mentions that a decoder is held by "Josh Smythe owner of the Hobb's End Photogallery in London."
"Hobb's End" is a fictional section of London where, while digging a subway tunnel, an alien spacecraft was found in the TV Mini-series (later a movie) "Quartermass and the Pit." "Hobb's End" is also the fictional New England town in John Carpenter's "In the Mouth of Madness."